Just a note, this casting is from the beginning of the game. Most characters are at least 2 years older now (some are more due to time shenaniganry)
Liam Callahan - a 17 year old human farm boy who constantly has his head in the clouds (you guessed it. The Hero!). Liam hails from the "Road's End Villages" the far North Western section of the Kingdom of Cerimea, not that anyone particularly remembers that that is still a part of the country. Liam has since aged to 20 years old and is taking the first steps towards facing his destiny.
Ilian Holhan - A 19 year old apprentice mage Seraphim who has come down to the surface (accompanied by his mentor and master) to further his studies on the weather as well as several other studies for his magical pursuits.. The Seraphim are a race of winged scholars and magi who live high above the clouds.
Abar Dan Rab Beynonn - A 19 year old Azrian Sword Dancer. The Azrian are a tribe of humans that live in cities in the forests (think Sherwood from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves), they are some of the premiere sword fighters in the land, using a style that emphasizes grace and finesse over power.
Darcy Stanton - A Half-Elf Rogue who has been staying with Rab (Abar) among the Azrian for the last few years. She is as close as a sister to Rab, and helps him on the various jobs he undertakes for the Azrian. Despite her time with the Azrian though, Darcy prefers to fight with her knives rather than use a sword.
Genru Crabshall - A Dwarven caravan guard from the Dwarf's War Caste. Genru hails from the famed floating cities of the Dwarves, though it has been years since he has seen home. Assigned to a guard a caravan heading to the northern provinces of Cerimea.
Ornu Tana Dar - An experienced Elven Woodsman, Ornu is specifically trained to be able to counter rogues, spies, and assassins, and also in taking out larger groups of opponents as quickly and efficiently possible. One year ago (beginning of the game) he was sent to retrieve Darcy back to the Kingdom so that officials could speak to her on matters of some importance to the Elven kingdom.
The session started with the PCs all loading back into a dwarven sub and returning to the Dwarven capitol underwater from the city of Oldritch they had just reclaimed the last session. En route, Grenru reappeared - soaking wet - in the sub around the place he vanished from. He wasn't exactly sure what had gone on, and everyone was willing to let it go at that (OOC note: due to time constraints I wasn't able to g over what happened with Grenru, so gave him a basic gist and we left it alone.). Back in the dwarven capitol the PCs are given a day to recover before they meet with the King. The King is pleased, they did him a huge favor, and he offers each of them a boon. No one asks for anything that the King did not already consider theirs, and the King pledges to send troops to where the Human armies - or at least what is left of them - are amassing for Elise's final push against the forces coming after them.
A couple more days are spent in the Dwarven city, recovering from wounds and enjoying the relative safety the city offers. Darcy gets another couple of knives made for her, Rab gets a light shirt of chain for himself. Grenru gets a new axe, and finds that the hunk of metal ((which I've since named Adamantine for purposes of unoriginality)) can not be forged with what the dwarves have available. They'll have to find something special for it. On the last day in the Dwaven city (time is a wasting after all) Grenru brings them all out drinking so they can have at least a last night of fun. Darcy gets wasted and is all over the place. Grenru does as well. Strangely Liam and Rab are the best off - with Rab actually being the only one able to control his drinking. Rab leads the drunken patrol of PCs back and loads everyone onto their ship so it can set off as early as the captain wants.
The few days of sailing go by peacefully, and the Dwarves leave the party off on the beach. Ilian goes off to find the Seraphim cities, the medallion found in Oldritch can lead the way for him. Everyone else heads off for Castle Wyvern, the place where 60 years ago (accounting for the 7 year time jump) Darcy slew the human king just moments before monsters took it in an act that would be mirrored 50 years later in Asgoth. They are unsure what to expect when they get there. The place has been under monster control for over 50 years, it must be a dangerous place. They have no idea how bad it is.
Five days into the 10 day journey, Ornu vanishes after his watch. There is no good bye, no sign of him, he has just upped and left (teach him to not show for game! MUAHAHAHAHA!). The group continues onwards, Darcy doesn't even care nor miss the fact that the object of her hate is gone. Two days out the patrols of monsters becomes thicker, and the party has to rely on stealth to get through undetected. Finally though, Castle Wyvern is in sight.
The Castle shows signs of having been a grandiose castle at one point. As aesthetically pleasing to the eyes as it was a masterful fortress. Even now, with sixty years of neglect and being occupied by monsters it is still an intimidating sight to anyone with even the smallest amount of strategic training. Whats worse, the monsters inside it seem to be somewhat organized and keeping watches. Different from what had been the case before the party had gone through the Titan Wall. Darcy heads out to scout, and while she is out two dragons land inside the courtyard. One of them is massive, easily as big as Fatooth when you account for the lack of fat. Its scales are black and oily, not corrupted just with a shimmer to them. As the light hits it reflects and shines in an almost mesmerising fashion. Liam recognizes the dragon from one of his visions, one in which it killed him. Darcy continues to scout anyhow, but she can't find a way to get Liam and Grenru in, a situation made worse when the guard doubles with the arrival of the dragons and in general becomes more alert.
The group decides to wait a couple days, look for patterns and take it slow. That night on watch however, Rab sees a bit of light from the castle. Looking, he sees what appears to be two human guards standing watch over a part of the wall. He points it out to Darcy, she sees nothing. He points it out to Liam, he also sees nothing. But they've dealt with strangeness like this before, it is in fact normal for them now. They decide to check it out further and Darcy and Rab go in to investigate.
As Rab approaches the guards - that Darcy still can't see - the guards come to attention and Salute. They open a secret door for him, it is his door, they are his servants. He is the King after all. He asks about the treasure, they mention the King's Sword and that it is in the vault. They do not know where that is, they are just guards however.
Rab guards the secret door while Darcy gets Liam and Grenru, and together the four head into the castle. They are at a banquet, a dance. The halls are clean and well lit, full to the brim with people. Everyone comes to greet Rab as the king and Darcy as the King's mother. It would be less creepy if they weren't all obviously spirits. Some of whom Darcy even recognizes from her last time in the castle. Rab, luckily, seems to know where he is going and pulls some of the ghost guards along with them for extra protection - especially after he and Liam think they see Malik inside the castle.
The vault is found easily enough, the guards staying outside the entrance way. The door to the vault itself opens with a casual push from Rab, revealing a large room with fairly little adornment. The eye drawn to a raised dais where a sword sticks out of a small stone holder. Just beyond it is a state of the Lady of the Light, hands held out towards whomever comes in and covered in a shimmering cloak.
Rab pulls the sword, Darcy is drawn to the cloak which she pulls off. Both are frozen in beams of light and a large man in spiked armor bursts in and immediately attacks Liam and Grenru.
While Liam and Grenru fight the foe, Darcy and Rab are being questioned. Rab's questions involve how or if he would protect his people as the King in certain situations. His immediate response in all cases is he protects his people, the reason being 'because that is what you do when they are your people'. He seems confused that it is even a question. Darcy on the other hand is questioned on how far she would go to save Rab, how far she would condemn others by those actions. When the question ends, both Darcy and Rab have been found worthy of their items and are brought back to the here and now. In the fight, Grenru has been rendered unconscious, Liam is still standing but hurt, and the opponent is down. Darcy makes sure just in case, and a Dragon's scream can be heard from above.
Grabbing Grenru the party flees the castle, though Liam stops when he hears his name called from behind him. Turning he sees his mother. She is dressed in a full suit of dragon scale armor, the scales the same as the ones of the dragon from his dream. The helm is clasped at her side. Darcy notes instead of sword and shield she is wearing a pair of Azrian style blades, one on each hip. Darcy stays to help Liam while Rab gets Grenru to safety.
Liam speaks to his mother. She wants him to join her, fulfill his destiny by helping her. He says she works for evil and she disagrees. She is trying to restore the natural order. Light must give way to dark, or the world will be destroyed. It has been stuck too long in the light - something that is killing it - and she needs to restore it. She wants him to join her. He says his duty is to the light, to the day, and that they are enemies. She pleads with him to not make it that way, they can change that part of the cycle. He says he needs time to think, to talk it over with his friends, and she relents.
For a brief moment Liam goes to hug her, but stops himself before he has committed to the act. Turning he walks away back to the tree line with Darcy. Neither looks back towards his mother. Liam's mother waits until he is out of view before turning and going back to the castle, sure her son has just put her in line with his enemies.
Back with Rab, Liam says his mother is on the other side. Rab responds immediately "Well yeah, the dead are ending up over there remember?" Immediately Rab realizes his error and grabs Liam in a hug. Darcy joins in. Grenru remains unconscious on the ground. The session ends.
I was a little worried about this session being 2 people down, but it worked out well. I enjoyed turning Castle Wyvern into a non-combat experience (for the most part) and the Players seemed to respond well to it to. I liked the night of fun in the dwarven city, it feels important to me. Something, a positive night of fun they can hold on to as they go deeper and darker while approaching the end.
The reveal of LIam's mother as the big bad wasn't a huge surprise, but it was something I had been waiting for a long time to do. It feels good to have finally gotten it out there, to let Liam know that in his quest to become a hero he may very well have to kill his own mother Something I am sure he is not looking forward to.
Next session, we should have Ilian and Ornu back (Ornu with his own cool new toy hopefully) and move on to the Flying Cities of the Seraphim.
Oh, and just to name the powerful items with the group now.
The Sword of the Dragon Knight (mk XI) - Liam
The Shield of the Dragon Knight (mk XI) - Liam
The Sword of the King - Rab
The Shroud of the Lady of Light - Darcy
Armor of the Guardians - Grenru (needs to be forged)